Yesterday, Wednesday 9th August, hunt saboteurs disrupted the first fox cub hunt of the new season.
Acting on a tip-off, Kent sabs followed the East Kent with West Street Hunt hound van to a meet at Etchinghill, near Folkestone.
The hounds were repeatedly drawn through woods likely to contain cubs, but with sabs deploying their drone and calling hounds away, the new huntsman had wisely given up and gone home by 7am. Result!
What is cub hunting?
Cub hunting or ‘cubbing’ is the highly secretive and illegal process by which new hounds are trained to hunt and kill foxes. As soon as crops have been harvested, new and experienced hounds are taken out at daybreak – when the scent is best – and put into woods known to contain families of foxes.
To help the new hounds make a kill, hunt followers surround the wood and make noises – such as slapping their saddles – to scare escaping cubs back into the wood. This is known as ‘holding up’ the wood.
As autumn and the new hunting season approaches, there is less ‘holding up’ and some cubs are hunted into the open fields. By October, cubbing has become indistinguishable from full-season fox hunting.
An HSA spokesperson commented,
“Cub hunting is amongst the dirtiest of all the hunter’s secrets. The whole process is designed to ensure fox cubs have no chance of escape – it is literally a slaughter.
We ask our supporters to keep a look out for horse boxes or groups of riders – in tweed, not red coats – gathering early in the early morning or late afternoon. Riders and foot followers surrounding a wood is another sure sign that cub hunting is taking place.”